Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif has warned against an arms race in the Middle East, saying recent US weapons sales have turned the Gulf region into a “tinderbox ready to blow up”.
In an interview with Al Jazeera on Monday, Zarif said more warships in the Gulf would only lead to more insecurity.
“The US [sold] $50bn worth of weapons to the region last year. Some of the countries in the region with less than a third of our population spend $87bn on military procurement,” Zarif told Al Jazeera in Qatar’s capital, Doha.
“Let’s make a comparison; Iran spent last year $16bn on all its military with almost one million people in the army. The UAE with a total population of one million spent $22bn, Saudi Arabia spent $87bn,” he continued.
“If you are talking about threats coming from the region, the threats are coming from the US and its allies who are pouring weapons in the region, making it a tinderbox ready to blow up.”
On the US naval build-up in Strait of Hormuz, Zarif said the move could destabilize the entire region.
“We believe that the best the US can do for the protection of maritime navigation is to just leave people alone; don’t interfere,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told Al Jazeera.
“This is basically a hostile act against Iran and I do not believe it will have any impact other than insecurity.”